Kelmti Horra - Emel Mathlouthi
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Here's a world diva with a difference. Mathlouthi's lament for her homeland, "Ya Tounes Ya Meskina" (Poor Tunisia), became a soundtrack to last year's uprising, along with the celebratory "Kelmti Horra" (My Word is Free). Arriving after several years of exile in France, this debut twists together Arabic roots with western flavours some rock (Mathlouthi plays guitar and cites Joan Baez as an influence) but mostly cavernous trip-hop. The mix works well on stand-outs "Dhalem" and "Ma Ikit", where Mathlouthi's striking vocals find most melody; elsewhere, the understandably serious mood of protest and sadness flatlines somewhat. A powerful new voice, none the less. --Neil Spencer, The Observer, 19th February 2012
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Arrangements are extremely slick, backing vocals are excellent, and nobody will regret buying this.
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